Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Glee Fans - Grab Season 2 on DVD and Blu-Ray September 13, 2011




GLEE: Season 2, Volume 1 Also Available on DVD

TV's musical sensation, “GLEE” THE COMPLETE SECOND SEASON comes to Blu-ray and DVD September 13th from Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment packed with all 22 episodes and never-before-seen bonus features sure to incite fans everywhere to “Gleek Out.”

GLEE is a biting musical comedy about a group of eager and ambitious students who strive to outshine their singing competition to win Nationals while navigating the cruel halls of McKinley High. A pop-culture phenomenon, GLEE boasts critical acclaim, a loyal fan base of “GLEEks,” two Platinum and two Gold albums, more than 29 million song downloads, the record for the most titles on the Billboard Hot 100 by a non-solo act (beating out Elvis Presley, James Brown and The Beatles), an incredible 19 Emmy nominations – earning it the distinction of being the most-nominated series of the year – and four Emmy Awards. To top it off, the genre-defying, award-winning series has been picked up through its third season.

“GLEE” THE COMPLETE SECOND SEASON Blu-ray and DVD is bursting with exclusive bonus materials including the fan-favorite Glee Music Jukebox, a behind-the-scenes look at the epic Season 2 finale shot in New York City, a featurette showcasing the GLEE guest stars: Gwyneth Paltrow, Carol Burnett and more, additional featurettes highlighting sensational cast performances and much more. “GLEE” THE COMPLETE SECOND SEASON will be available for an average retail price of $44.99 Blu-ray and $39.98 DVD respectively. Pre-book date is August 3, 2011.

Based on the smash North American concert tour, GLEE LIVE: The 3D Concert Movie will be released in theaters nationwide, for a special limited two-week engagement, on August 12, 2011.

·         Glee Music Jukebox
·         Guesting on Glee
·         Stevie Nick Goes Glee
·         A Day in The Life of Brittany
·         Shooting Glee in New York City
·         Sue’s Quips
·         Santana Slams
·         Building Glee’s Auditorium with Cory Monteith
·         The Making of the Rocky Horror Glee Show
·         Exclsuive Bonus Song – “Planet, Schmanet, Janet”
·         Getting Waxed with Jane Lynch
·         The Wit of Brittany
·         Glee at Comic-Con 2010

About Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment
Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment, LLC (TCFHE) is a recognized global industry leader and a subsidiary of Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation, a News Corporation company. Representing 75 years of innovative and award-winning filmmaking from Twentieth Century Fox, TCFHE is the worldwide marketing, sales and distribution company for all Fox film and television programming, acquisitions and original productions on DVD, Blu-ray Disc Digital Copy, Video On Demand and Digital Download. The company also releases all products globally for MGM Home Entertainment. Each year TCFHE introduces hundreds of new and newly enhanced products, which it services to retail outlets from mass merchants and warehouse clubs to specialty stores and e-commerce throughout the world.

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Follow Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment on Twitter @FoxHomeEnt  

Hasbro Game Night, Trade In's and Organization Tips

Is your game of Sorry! looking, well, a little sorry? Or maybe the Cavity Sam in your game of Operation looks like he needs to take a trip to the ER. Whether you’re missing some money in your Monopoly game or letter tiles from the Scrabble game, it may be time to replace that worn and well-loved game with a brand new one. Luckily for you and your family, the Great Games Trade-In is here to make recycling and upgrading games as easy as can be! Throughout the month of September, visit to print up to $83 in coupons, as well as prepaid shipping labels to easily recycle your old games. You’ll learn how to recycle your old, worn-out games with Recyclebank to make plenty of room in your freshly cleaned game closet for brand spankin’ new games! The 22 Great Games Trade-In coupon offers can be redeemed at mass merchandise retailers nationwide through October 9. And with all of these savings, you’ll even have extra spending money for treats and decorations for your big National Family Game Night celebration!

Want to put those brand new games from the Great Games Trade-In to use? National Family Game Night is the perfect occasion! On September 28, we invite you to join families across the nation to unplug and unwind as you spend quality time together playing a new game. Between the pressures and demands of work, school and activities, it can be hard to find time to reconnect as a family. Hasbro wants to help everyone in America create this special and important time, and is supplying great savings on new games to ensure this year’s National Family Game Night is a success in every home!

All you really need for a successful Family Game Night are good friends and family and your favorite games! But if getting to your games or finding the one everyone is dying to play is derailing the fun in your house, it might be time for a game closet makeover. Alison Deyette, a lifestyle expert and author of the blog “Ali on the Go,” shares a few tips to ensure you’re prepared for Family Game Night fun time and time again.

1.     Store Games in an Easily Accessible Location: Keep all your games in one place, such as a closet or storage ottoman. If you don’t have the closet space for a designated area for family games, consider storing your games near the TV in an ottoman with a lift-off top, or in a large trunk or storage bin. That way, it’s easy to get to a game when the family is looking for something to do together, or when your favorite show is over.

2.     Assign Shelves in the Game Closet: Designate each shelf in the family game closet for a particular game category. With separate shelves for word games, party games and active games without a box, everyone knows where each game goes and clean up is quick and easy! Consider keeping games for the little ones on lower shelves so they can grab them on their own for spontaneous play at any time.

3.     Store Games Side by Side: To ensure games are easy to see and grab from the shelf, store board game boxes side by side vertically, similarly to books on a bookshelf. This way, every game is easily accessible and you don’t have to worry about trying to pry one game from the middle or bottom of a stack.

4.     Find a Place for Small Game Pieces: Want to ensure you never lose those Scrabble tiles or Monopoly houses again? Use plastic tote boxes to store smaller playing items like these, as well as dice, timers and pawns. You can also use a fishing tackle box to keep all the tiny pieces separated and safe between Family Game Nights.

5.     Create a Binder to Store Game Directions: Place the directions from each game in a clear sheet protector. Alphabetize the sheets by the name of the game so directions are easy to find when you need a reminder about who goes first in The Game of Life or how much money each player starts with in Monopoly.

6.     Find Time in Your Busy Schedule for Family Game Night: Plan ahead to make sure you’re completely organized before everyone sits down at the table for Family Game Night. Make all of the treats the day before and place everything in personalized goodie bags to ensure each guest is accounted for. Also, determine which games you’re going to play ahead of time and set everything out the night before to increase everyone’s excitement for the big night!

Cleaning out your game closet is sure to unearth some games that are ready to be replaced, such as the Candy Land game that Mom and Dad played growing up, or the Monopoly game missing the racecar and shoe tokens. The Great Games Trade-In is a great way for families to adopt green habits by sending in old games to be recycled. By teaming up with Recyclebank, the company that rewards people for taking everyday green actions with discounts and deals from local businesses and national brands, Hasbro makes it easy for families to get a fresh, new board game for National Family Game Night while keeping their wallets full and their environmental footprints small.

Most board games include components that are easy to recycle, like cardboard and plastic. By printing a prepaid shipping label from during the Great Games Trade-In and pledging to recycle your old game, you can earn points with Recyclebank and eventually cash in these green points for retail rewards. Recyclebank has partnered with a materials recovery center to ensure everything received will be disposed of in a professional manner by qualified personnel and in accordance with industry standards. If it’s recyclable, Recyclebank will do right by it.
For more information on recycling and how you can make it an everyday part of your family’s life, please visit

For more details about the Great Games Trade-In, information about new games and a daily dose of Facebook-style game play, “Like” them on Facebook and check in often to stay up to speed on all things Family Game Night. During the month of September, in addition to game play they will be your number one and nonstop source for information about the Great Games Trade-In, tips on preparing for National Family Game Night and game recommendations for the big night. Let the countdown for National Family Game Night begin!

Family Game Night:
Trivial Pursuit:

Trivial Pursuit:

Zhu Zhu Puppies Are Our Newest Favorite Toys

We are big Zhu Zhu Pet Fans, especially Goddess. She loves her amazing collection of Hamsters and now she has a new love. The Zhu Zhu Puppies collection which she has been seeing commercials and begging for made a stop at our house in the form of a Pup, an outfit and a accessory.

It was torture for her to wait for me to take a photo of the three boxes for this post. A whole day she would come over and ask, "did you take the picture for your blog yet?" The very next day, I allowed her to open the boxes and she couldn't have been happier. My 6  year old sat on the floor and put the Puppy Car and Meter together, dressed her puppy and attached it to the Zhu Zhu Pets Princess Castle and Ice Cream Shop.  This is something I really appreciate. Thanks Zhu Zhu for making all the pieces attach. It is nice to be able to expand on the line without having to purchased each line separately. The Zhu Zhu Pets and the Zhu Zhu Puppies, played very nice together in the car, ice cream shop and Princess Castle.

The Puppy is definitely her favorite Zhu Zhu and I can't say I blame her. While the hamsters all look the same other than color and style, the puppies, like real ones have their very own personality and it shows all over their sweet faces. Just look at that face!

We really love the puppy and she is asking for more. These are definitely going on her Christmas list. Who could resist this sweet, little pup and look at those wings. Her costume has little wings on the back which had Goddess squealing, "isn't she cute?" over and over.

Thanks to Zhu Zhu Pets and Mom Select, I have been given permission to host a Giveaway on my blog.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Red Lobster Has Revamped And Looks Amazing

Oh I had a blast last week at Red Lobster. Love seafood and family dinner, plus the NEW Red Lobster looks amazing.

Monday, August 29, 2011

The Beach Is Full Of Amazing Things


It's not the beautiful beach, the calming water, the sunset or the rainbows in her ears. It is the inner light that shines from her whenever she is around.

An Uplifting Story of One Family’s Faith
Arrives on DVD September 20
A young man loses his way but through the power of his family’s prayers finds the path to redemption and rediscovers the love of his father in BREAKING THE PRESS, going for the gold on DVD September 20 from Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment.

A recent recipient of the Dove Foundation’s ‘Family-Approved’ seal for all audiences over the age of twelve, this inspiring Biblical parable stars Drew Waters (“Friday Night Lights”) as Joe Conahey, a small-town high school basketball coach whose Christian faith is tested by an unsuccessful season and the intense pressure that results. The family’s two star sons—the older, diligently hardworking brother Matt (Chad Halbrook, Brotherhood) and the younger, naturally-gifted Josh (Tom Maden, “According to Jim”)—are separated when Josh selfishly transfers to a powerhouse school hundreds of miles away. His previous team’s top player, Josh finds difficulty adjusting to the big-city program, tempted as he is by girls, drugs, alcohol and stardom – and is subsequently expelled. Only through the power of prayer and forgiveness can the troubled ”Prodigal Son” make his way back into the arms of his loving father and find redemption for his family and his team.

BREAKING THE PRESS includes a behind-the-scenes featurette on the making of the film and will be available on single-disc DVD in the U.S. and Canada. Pre-book is August 10.
The soundtrack will be available on CURB Records featuring Jamie Slocum and other known contemporary Christian Artists.



About Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment
Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment, LLC (TCFHE) is a recognized global industry leader and a subsidiary of Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation, a News Corporation company. Representing 75 years of innovative and award-winning filmmaking from Twentieth Century Fox, TCFHE is the worldwide marketing, sales and distribution company for all Fox film and television programming, acquisitions and original productions on DVD, Blu-ray Disc Digital Copy, Video On Demand and Digital Download. The company also releases all products globally for MGM Home Entertainment. Each year TCFHE introduces hundreds of new and newly enhanced products, which it services to retail outlets from mass merchants and warehouse clubs to specialty stores and e-commerce throughout the world

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Are Your KooKoo Birds The Craziest?

Totally KooKoo™ is having a very special KooKoo Bird Sighting Photo Contest on Facebook! 

For a chance to win awesome prizes, simply upload a photo of a KooKoo Bird – or a KooKoo Bird creative original interpretation (a drawing, collage, picture, etc.) in the kookiest place possible! Get creative and show us your kookoo side! Who will win? You decide! ENTER HERE

Voting is open to the public so be sure to get your friends and family involved and check it out at Facebook/TotallyKooKoo!

One Grand Prize Winner will receive a $100 Toys“R”Us Gift Card and a Totally KooKoo prizepack and two runners-up will each receive a $50 Toys“R”Us Gift Card!

The sky’s the limit, so get sighting, snapping and posting! We can’t wait to see those KooKoo Bird pics!

Back To School Lunch Safety Tips

Packing Bag Lunches Safely

Pack Nonperishable Foods
The USDA now recommends that half of a meal be fruits and vegetables, which is convenient because most produce does not spoil at room temperature. Consider packing more foods that are nonperishable and don’t require refrigeration like whole apples, cherry tomatoes, grapes or carrot sticks.

Keep Cold Foods Cold and Hot Foods Hot
If you do pack perishable foods such as luncheon meats or prepackaged cheese & crackers, include a frozen gel pack or a frozen juice carton with the food in an insulated lunch bag or box.

If you’re packing hot foods such as soups or stews, re-heat the hot food on the stove to at least 165 F. To help keep it hot until lunch, pre-heat a thermos with hot water, let it stand for a minute or two, empty the thermos, then fill it with the hot food and close it quickly.

Throw Out the Leftovers
Pack only the amount of perishable food that your child can eat at lunch and advise them to throw out any leftovers. 

Additionally, don't reuse packaging materials such as paper or plastic bags, aluminum foil, etc. as bacteria can grow on these wrappings, contaminate other foods and cause foodborne illness. Have your child discard all used food packaging and paper bags after lunch. Wash lunchboxes, thermoses and reusable food storage containers daily with soap and hot water.

Minimize The Time Food Spends At Room Temperature
Prepare lunches the night before and store them in the refrigerator overnight to help keep food cold longer the next day. 

Keep it Clean
According to a NSF International germ study, the kitchen contains more germs than any other place in the home - including staph and coliform bacteria.  Avoid introducing bacteria into a lunch when packing it by regularly cleaning and sanitizing your kitchen counter, dish sponge and kitchen sink. 

Perform a lunchbox safety test
If you plan to send a hot or cold lunch to school with your child, perform a lunchbox safety test to make sure the food will stay safe. Pack and store a lunch exactly the way you would if your child was off to school. At the designated lunchtime, check the temperature of the foods with a food thermometer. Cold foods should be less than 40 F, while hot foods need to be above 140 F.

Don’t forget to always wash your hands with soap and warm water for at least 20 seconds before preparing any meal and remind your child to do the same before he/she sits down for lunch. Handwashing is one of the best ways kids and parents can protect health and stop the spread of germs.

Courtesy of NSF International

Hot Wheels Nitro Speeders - The Perfect Little Car

Are you searching for that perfect pocket-size toy to keep your children entertained while on the run?

We know it can be hard to find small and entertaining toys to take along on family vacations or a day of errands and that's why we're excited to tell you about this fun new toy we've found for young boys.

Hot Wheels' newest generation of micro RC vehicle, Nitro Speeders, helps fuel thrilling vehicle experiences on the go:

•Measuring fewer than two inches in length and less than one-half inch wide, Nitro Speeders is THE portable toy for your boy on the go

•Nitro Speeders fly around corners at a scaled 600 mph, making it one of the fastest small RC cars on the market today

•Nitro Speeders are operated by a pocket sized remote control that doubles as a charger and handy carrying case so it's always ready when you're on the move

•For added fun, they work with all standard Hot Wheels track sets - including ones with loops

What I Can Tell You:

Awesome! Hot Wheels has taken chargeable toys to a whole new level and I am hoping other companies take notice. We love the idea of the car being charged in the remote control. It is truly genius.

The car is small. It is super fast and easy to use. Simply put batteries in the remote control, open the remote door, take the little do dad and insert it into the car. Car is charged when the light is green. Disconnect the car and race it using the remote. Awesome. I can't say enough about this item. Easy to take with you. Great for traveling.

Photos and video coming. The storm preparation has but a hold on a lot of things here but I didn't want to wait to get this up.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Color Carnival #105

Happy Saturday everyone.  Hold onto your bloomers East Coast, it's going to be a crazy couple of hours.
The last few days we have been planning for this crazy storm. The kids are already enjoying the bunker (downstairs) while we have been preparing the deck item and the gazebo for the 80 mile an hour winds and massive about of rain we are expecting.

I hope everyone is ready and have prepared for the worst but praying for the best. Stay safe everyone.

The pictures from this week are beautiful and so needed for this crazy, hectic week.

Love the flowers, the summer toys and everything in between. Really cheerful photos! Keep up the good work everyone.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Winner Announcements, Did you win? August 25, 2011

The Winner of Dinosaur Train DVD  is:

Random Integer Generator

Here are your random numbers:
52 - lewalk
Timestamp: 2011-08-25 20:40:56 UTC

The Winner of the Marley And Me The Puppy Years Giveaway is:

Random Integer Generator

Here are your random numbers:
42 - Mom Caboodle
Timestamp: 2011-08-25 21:37:13 UTC

The Winner of the Henry's Crime Giveaway is:

Random Integer Generator

Here are your random numbers:
92 - Jenn Spencer
Timestamp: 2011-08-25 21:41:38 UTC

The Winner of the Something Borrowed DVD Giveaway is:

Random Integer Generator

Here are your random numbers:
42 - lewalk
Timestamp: 2011-08-25 21:44:22 UTC


Thank you to everyone who entered.  I am forwarding an email to the winners, who have 48 hours to respond before another winner is selected. If you do not get an email, please contact me directly.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Sweet Shots

Sweet Shot Day

My daughter and niece together really make me smile. They are so cute and similar. Watching the comfort they have with each other even though they only see each other once or twice a year makes me feel good. Before my daughter, my niece was my baby. I used to take her to my house to spend the summer. She has a very special soul and a huge heart. I adore her to pieces. Hopefully we see her more this year but at least we had three days with her and that was worth so much!

Picnik collage

Pointing and Spotting

I took Goddess and my niece out on a "photo shoot". I love taking pictures of people and capturing interaction between them. They were so sweet together. My niece has two little sisters so you would think she has little or no time for her baby cousin but being the special soul she is...she is makes Goddess feel very special.

While watching them, I spotted them pointing at something. It was so cute that they were doing it together, I had to grab the shot. Then I spanned to see what it was....


Beautiful Flowers




Beautiful flowers, gifts from my nieces on my 45th birthday last week.  I love the softness of the petals.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

What Do College Bound Kids Need? Check out this Back To School Guide Which Breaks Down The Needs and Must Haves!

Highlights from Retrevo's 2011 Back To School Guide:

- Most Students Don't Need a Smartphone! - While smartphones are nice to have, budget-savvy students can get by just fine with a good laptop and a regular feature phone. If you really need apps, try an 8GB iPod Touch for just $299 and no monthly fees. We're not saying that students will love this option, but you can save a lot of money if you're not paying for a monthly data plan.

- Don't Get a TV! - Today's college students don't need a dedicated TV, they need a multi-tasker. Get a large computer monitor with either DVI or S-Video and HDMI ports that can give them more workspace on their laptop and plug-into their Blu-ray player, gaming console, or other media device.

- Save Money With an E-Reader -  Once you get past the initial expense of an e-reader, your student will be able to buy books at a cheaper price than they'll find on the shelves. Amazon recently announced they'll be renting textbooks as well; another money-saving reason to get an e-reader. 

- You Don't Need a MacBook Air! - Retrevo's compiled a list below, of laptops that are more budget-friendly.

- Minimum Laptop Requirements - Retrevo recommends something with a webcam, 6hrs+ battery life, 250GB minimum of storage, a weight of less than 5lbs and a Dual Core i3 or i5.

TITLE:'s Back To School Tech Guide
By Andrew Eisner, Director of Community and Content

Right about now you're starting to wonder what kinds of electronics your college student is going to need. "Need" being the operative word here, as opposed to the many gadgets they merely want but claim to need. Retrevo is here to help you sift through the many options so your students can be as productive as possible, and you can still afford gas to go visit them.

As far as our editors are concerned, the perfect dorm room set up is a decent laptop with plenty of storage, a second larger display monitor that also functions as a television, and both a wireless mouse and keyboard. A good pair of headphones or speakers is also pretty necessary.
Must Have

1. Laptop/Netbook:
The specs of what kind of laptop students need varies depending on what they will be doing - literature students who will be writing essays could get by with a netbook, while graphic artists will need something more robust but according to Retrevo's Product Life-cycle there are a few must-haves for everyone.    

Anything that falls into the "Mainstrem" should be considered a necessity. An integrated webcam so they can chat with mom; a solid battery life, at least six hours, so it can get them through a lecture or two and some study time at the coffee shop; the life cycle suggests no more than 250GB if you aren't planning on storing a lot of media, but since a college students laptop will most likely be their main storage site for music and movies, we'd recommend bumping that up possibly as high as 500GB. Ideally it should weigh less than 5lbs so they're more inclined to take it with them, and despite what they may say, they really don't need an i7 processor a Dual-Core i3 or i5 will do just fine for the necessary amount of multi-tasking.

- Webcam: Good for keeping in touch over long distances
- Battery: A solid six hours is preferable
- Storage: Minimum 250GB
- Weight: No more than 5lbs
- Storage: Dual Core i3 or i5
- Don't forget to have a look at Retrevo's back to school laptop deals.

2. Monitor:
In dealing with the space (and electric socket) constraints of a college dorm, students want as many of their electronics to do double duty as possible. This is why we recommend purchasing a computer monitor that will also function as a television. For this purpose Retrevo's Product Life-Cycle suggests getting one with either a DVI or S-Video and HDMI ports - which means they can plug in their laptop for streaming Netflix and working on a paper, or a gaming consol, Blu-ray player and set-top box.      

3. E-Reader:
Text books, and the days of having to carry and store a ridiculous amount of them, are hopefully going the way of the abacus. E-Readers allow students to highlight and search, bookmark, take notes in the margin - and if that isn't quite enough to convince you that one will make their life easier, Amazon's recent announcement that they'll be renting textbooks, should push you over the edge.        


1. Printer:
More and more Universities are requiring their students to submit their work electronically  either on a flash drive, or through a program that will double check for plagiarism. This means printers aren t as necessary as they once were and most students could get away with only using their campus library printers when they occasionally need it. That being said, if your student still feels they need one, for $100 you can get a decent all-in-one that functions as a printer, scanner and fax machine.       
2. MP3 Player:
Music is a staple of college life and while iPods are by and large the MP3 player of choice, there are some really good, affordable options not made by Apple. Some have built-in voice recording so students can sleep through their 8am lecture, but then listen to it again after several cups of coffee. They ll also want one with an FM Radio so they can tune into the college radio station and never miss a campus concert or poetry reading. If they do decide to go the iPod route, we recommend the Touch; as well as being a music player it also access the internet via Wi-Fi and runs apps, many of which students would find useful. 

3. Accessories:
Some accessories we'd recommend include a travel bag for the laptop; ear-buds; wireless mouse; wireless keyboard; portable speakers or docking station to plug into both the laptop and MP3 player, maybe one that has an alarm clock, and operates on batteries so it can travel; USB hub that will convert one USB socket into multiple; a flash drive; and an external hard drive since not all schools offer a service for backing up data and critical information.

All About Tablets:
With their easy portability, apps and 3G access many students find themselves debating the merits of a tablet over a laptop. Apps can give a huge boost to productivity and simplify the process of web research. Both Apple and Android offer programs for taking notes, scheduling and organizing multi-media presentations. The major arguments against a tablet are of course the lack of easy input, generally in the form of a keyboard, and the very limited storage. Not being able to type up papers or notes or presentations is a serious problem, and the main reason more students aren't replacing their laptop with a tablet. There are applications that could solve this problem in the near future. Android has an app called Speaknotes which digitally transcribes what the speaker says; Apple has the Numbers app which creates organizational spreadsheets of problem sets. These aren't yet positioned to replace old-fashioned typing, but it may not be long. When in doubt always check with your child's University - they often have specific technology requirements for each course and can tell you if a tablet would meet these.   
Options To A MacBook Air?
With Apple's recent announcement, it's possible your offspring is angling for a MacBook Air to take to college. It's a great machine, no argument there, but if you can't afford the hefty price tag, here are a few options that might appease them.

- Lenovo X220: With an Intel Sandy Bridge i5 Processor, 320GB hard drive, Windows 7 Professional and a multi-touch touchpad. What really sets the Lenovo apart though is its battery life, all the reviews we've read have raved about the 8-10hrs (15 with the extended battery) battery life that the 6-cell gives, with moderate to heavy usage. All that, plus a starting price of $890, makes this one of our top picks as an alternative to the MacBook Air

- Asus U: The all-important Intel i3 Sandy Bridge processor, 640GB hard drive (though not solid state), a 15 inch screen, Windows 7 Home Premium, and 6 hours of battery life. The downside is that it weighs in at a hefty 4.2lbs. The one area where this definitely beats the competition is price. At $580 the Asus U is a full 1K cheaper than the MacBook Air.

- MSI X 460 The X 460 has some impressive hardware - an Intel i7 Sandy Bridge Processor, a 14-inch screen, USB 3.0, and a 750GB hard drive. It comes installed with Windows 7 Home Premium and 7 hours of battery life. Due out this summer the 460 should cost around $600.

Smartphones Meet Reality:
This is a bit of a tricky one. We are inclined to argue that with the proper laptop, a smartphone falls into the "nice-to-have" category, but isn't absolutely necessary. And yes, we can hear the student out-cry from here. But texting can be done from any phone and email/social networking from a laptop. It's true that there are a lot of great study apps that would be useful to students, but factoring in the high monthly price-tag makes us inclined to say the trade-off is not worth it for the budget-savvy. If the apps really are a must-have, then consider buying an iPod Touch; the 8GB model will run you $229 and no monthly bill.

Feature Phone vs. Smartphone
You can often add a phone to a family plan for a relatively low monthly fee however, a smartphone will need a data plan which could add significantly to the monthly bill. In the end it's hard to make a definitive recommendation to go with a smartphone, a feature phone or add an iPod Touch. The feature phone with or without an iPod Touch will definitely save you money but a smartphone will keep you from having to listen to a lot of whining from a "deprived" student.

All About Laptop Security:
Try not to use a very conspicuous laptop bags. Nothing says, "I'm a laptop, grab me easily," more than a slim, nylon, rectangular shoulder bag.

Don't leave them unattended. Don't leave your laptop visible in your car when you park and don't leave it sitting on the table at a coffee house or library when you want a refill or need to use the restroom.

Most laptops have a Universal Security Slot (USS) on the side of the laptop that can be used to connect a cable or alarm. TheKensington 64068F cable and connector costs under $40. Belkin makes a device that sells for around $20 and sets off an alarm if it's removed. Mark your laptop with an ID code. Companies like yougetitback and armortag make it easy for someone who finds your laptop to call an 800 number and get a reward.

Stop will sell you a registered "security plate,"  that incorporates an "indelible tattoo" that can help missing property get returned to their owners

Keep sensitive information on a USB drive or in the cloud.

Encrypt all the data on your disk. There are many drive encryption programs on the market. Some versions of Vista include BitLocker Drive Encryption. You could also use a free open source on-the-fly encryption program like truecypt.

Where to get the Manuals
Don't forget to download the manuals from Retrevo for all your gadgets before you go. From coffee makers, HDTVs and Computers to Microwaves, Vacuums and Cell Phones, save space and download the manuals to all of your college gadgets before you get to your dorm room.

Read the full guide here:

Gazillion Bubble Show Tour!

Gazillion Bubble Show Launches 70-City North American Tour

New York, NY – August 9, 2011 – Five-time Tony Award®-winning producer, Jon B. Platt (Wicked, The Book of Mormon), announces the first ever North American tour of Gazillion Bubble Show, starring its creator and international sensation Fan Yang.  This world renowned, brilliant and unique theatrical experience will delight audiences of all ages, transforming a multitude of beautiful bubbles into a thrilling, interactive, multi-million dollar spectacular.  Audiences and critics will be wowed by bouncing bubbles, floating bubbles, misty, tiny and massive bubbles as they experience the world’s first live “snow globe” when millions of tiny bubbles fill the stage.  Absolutely nothing compares to the feeling of standing inside a Fan Yang giant bubble creation.   Fan Yang’s extraordinary bubble masterpieces illuminated by his spellbinding laser magic will dazzle theatre-goers aged 2 to102.
“We are excited to bring the extraordinary talent of Fan Yang to audiences across the country,” said producer Jon B. Platt. “Fan’s talent is unmatched and his beautiful and brilliant creations for all audiences are unlike anything that has ever been seen before. The future of live entertainment is here, and it’s Fan Yang!

Gazillion Bubble Show was conceived by its star and international phenomenon, Fan Yang.  Over the past two decades he has sold out performances and earned critical and audience acclaim in Germany, France, Spain, Vietnam, Singapore and many other countries around the globe.  Fan’s ingenious creations and dedication to the pursuit of his craft have brought to life an utterly unique art form.  Fan Yang currently holds 17 Guinness World Records; most recently for having put 108 people inside a single bubble.   His performances have been broadcast worldwide on television, including “Oprah,’ “Ellen,” “Late Night with David Letterman,” “The View,” and many more.

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Gazillion Bubble Show 2011 Tour Dates will include the following:
(Additional 2011 and 2012 dates will be announced this fall)

Sept. 30-Oct 2                    Providence, RI                   Providence Performing Arts Center
Oct. 5                                    Orono, ME                          Collins Center for the Arts
Oct. 6                                    Portland, ME                      Merrill Auditorium
Oct. 7 - 8                              Schenectady, NY              Proctor’s Theatre
Oct. 9                                    Hartford, CT                       Bushnell Performing Arts Center
Oct. 14-16                            Detroit, MI                          Fisher Theatre
Oct. 21-22                            Hershey, PA                       Hershey Theatre
Nov. 5-6                               Philadelphia, PA               Merriam Theatre
Nov. 18-19                          Spartanburg, SC                                Memorial Auditorium
Nov. 20                                 Morganton, NC                 Municipal Auditorium
Dec. 3-4                                Tampa, FL                            Morsani Hall
Dec. 7-11                             Boston, MA                        Wang Theatre
Dec. 28-31                           Toronto, ONT                    Canon Theatre 
Jan. 17, 2012                       Macon, GA                         Grand Opera House
Jan. 21, 2012                       Toledo, OH                         Stranahan Theatre
Jan. 29, 2012                       Merrillville, IN                    Star Plaza Theatre
Feb. 3-4, 2012                    Denver, CO                         Buell Theatre
Feb. 10-12, 2012               Seattle, WA                        Moore Theatre
Feb. 29, 2012                      Thousand Oaks, CA         Fred Kavli Theatre
March 2-3, 2012                Mesa, AZ                             Mesa Arts Center
April 1, 2012                        Charlotte, NC                     Belk Theatre

Producer Jon B. Platt is the winner of 5 Tony Awards® for Angels in AmericaMillennium Approaches, which won the Pulitzer Prize for Drama, PerestroikaCopenhagen, God of Carnage, and most recently The Book Of Mormon, winner of nine 2011 Tony Awards® including Best New Musical, which The New York Times called “The Best Musical of the Decade!”  He has earned fourteen Tony Award® nominations including Wicked, Damn YankeesPeter PanHello, Dolly!The Diary of Anne Frank, Man of La Mancha, Will Ferrell’s You’re Welcome America and A View From The Bridge (Scarlett Johansson, Liev Schreiber).  Mr. Platt’s achievements have also been acknowledged by twelve New York Drama Desk Awards.  His national productions include The Sound of Music, Hair, Sunset Boulevard, Jesus Christ Superstar, Fiddler on the Roof, A Chorus Line and Blue Man Group “Tubes,” now in its 15th year in BostonMr. Platt’s recent Broadway credits include:  Cyrano de Bergerac (Jennifer Garner, Kevin Kline), Exit the King (Best Actor Tony Award® - Geoffrey Rush), Tony Award® Winner Best Play God of Carnage (James Gandolfini, Tony Award® Best Actress Marcia Gay Harden, Jeff Daniels, Hope Davis), Jerusalem (Tony Award® Best Actor - Mark Rylance), and The Mother with a Hat (Chris Rock)Mr. Platt is currently represented by 7 productions of Wicked worldwide, and the London production of Driving Miss Daisy (James Earl Jones, Vanessa Redgrave).  This coming season, he will present, in association with Manhattan Theatre Club the acclaimed Venus in Fur, written by David Ives and directed by Walter Bobbie.

Gazillion Bubble Show is director by Sam Scalamoni. Mr. Scalamoni was Associate Director of Disney’s Beauty and the Beast on Broadway and supervised the US national tour, the UK international tour and companies in Sao Paulo, Brazil and Seoul, Korea.  Most recently, Mr. Scalamoni directed Storytime Live! for Nickelodeon and Broadway Across America, Broadway in the Berkshires for Shakespeare and Company and a concert staging of The Pirates of Penzance for Skyline Theatre Company.   He is also the Co-Book writer of his newest project in development, Get Happy!, based on the MGM Judy Garland Gene Kelly film Summer Stock.